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Support the Socceroos

I will certainly be supporting Australia’s bid for soccer World Cup glory. But Ynetnews (via the AJNexplains why you should also be supporting us.

Australian soccer coach Guus Hiddink’s father, Gerhardus (Gerrit) Hiddink, stole food coupons during World War II in order to feed Jews who were hiding in his Dutch village of Varsseveld, according to Guus Hiddink’s brother Hans.


In a telephone interview from Varsseveld, Hans Hiddink also recounted his father’s efforts for the Dutch Resistance to save downed Allied pilots Рfor which he was cited by then US president Dwight D Eisenhower.


Hiddink senior would carry pilots downed in the Varsseveld area 40 kilometers to the south on his bicycle, where they were picked up by members of the Resistance and eventually spirited to safe havens in Spain. Hiddink senior’s assistance to the Jews was first mentioned in a Sydney Morning Herald profile titled “A beautiful mind”, published earlier this year.

 

Hans Hiddick told the AJN that his father, an unemployed teacher during the war, was appointed by the local authorities of Varsseveld – a township 150 kilometers east of Amsterdam – to manage the distribution of food coupons to the local population.

 

According to Hans, Gerrit Hiddink and his cousin would fake break-ins to the food-coupon offices and claim that coupons had been stolen. They would then use these coupons to feed several Jews who were in hiding in farmhouses in the area.

 

The son of one of the families fed by Hiddink, Joop Levi, is an Amsterdam Jew who comes on an annual pilgrimage to Hiddink senior Рwho will be marking his 90th birthday this year Рto pay his respects for helping save his parents’ lives.

 

But while Hans seems to believe that all the Jews hiding in Varsseveld survived the war, records indicate that only a few families survived – with the help of the local population – while the rest suffered a fate similar to that of 107,000 Dutch Jews, 80 per cent of the prewar Jewish population, who were exterminated by the Nazis.

Another reason to support Australia in the World Cup: I am Australian, and you should want me to be happy.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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